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Transparency and Openness Promotion (TOP) Guidelines for Authors Publishing in an American Heart Association Journal

Citation Standards

The policy of American Heart Association journals* is to publish papers where data, program code and other methods are appropriately cited using DOIs, journal citations, or other persistent identifiers. Such materials should be recognized as original intellectual contributions and afforded recognition through citation.  

Data set citation format:

Creator (PublicationYear). Title. Publisher. Identifier

Data set citation example:

Chen, J. et al. Common genetic variation in ETV6 is associated with colorectal cancer susceptibility. Dryad Digital Repository. doi:10.5061/dryad.7dj7t (2016).

Data, Analytic Methods (Code), and Research Materials Transparency

The policy of American Heart Association journals* is to publish papers where authors indicate whether the data, methods used in the analysis (eg, program code or scripts for statistical packages), and materials used to conduct the research will be made available to any researcher for purposes of reproducing the results or replicating the procedure. A list of potential data repositories is available here.

1. Authors must, at the beginning of the Methods section, indicate if they will or will not make their data, analytic methods, and study materials available to other researchers. Examples of disclosure statements are available here.

2. If an author agrees to make materials available, the author must specify where that material will be available and is responsible for maintaining availability.

Design and Analysis Transparency

The policy of the American Heart Association journals* is to publish papers where authors follow standards for disclosing key aspects of the research design and data analysis. Authors are encouraged to review the standards available for many research applications from and use those that are relevant for the reported research applications.

Preregistration of Studies and Analysis Plans

The policy of the American Heart Association journals* is to publish papers that include a link to pre-registration of the study and/or analysis plan if applicable. Preregistration of studies involves registering the study design, variables, and treatment conditions. Including an analysis plan involves specification of sequence of analyses or the statistical model that will be reported.

Examples include the following based on study type:

1. If authors have preregistered the study, a link to the pre-registration or the registry and unique identifier of the pre-registration must be included at the beginning of the Methods section upon submission of the paper.

2. If an author preregistered the research with an analysis plan, the author must:

a. confirm in the text that the study was registered prior to conducting the research with links to the time-stamped preregistration(s) at the institutional registry, and that the preregistration adheres to the disclosure requirements of the institutional registry or those required for the preregistered badge with analysis plans maintained by the Center for Open Science.

b. report all preregistered analyses in the text, or, if there were changes in the analysis plan following preregistration, those changes must be disclosed with explanation for the changes.

c. clearly distinguish in text analyses that were preregistered from those that were not, such as having separate sections in the results for confirmatory and exploratory analyses.


The policy of the American Heart Association journals* is to hold replication studies to the same standards as other content submitted to the journals. 

*Including Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology (ATVB), Circulation, Circulation: Arrhythmia and Electrophysiology, Circulation: Cardiovascular Genetics, Circulation: Cardiovascular Imaging, Circulation: Cardiovascular Interventions, Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, Circulation: Heart Failure, Circulation Research, Hypertension, Journal of the American Heart Association (JAHA), Stroke